Wadi Rum – the valley of the moon. Cut into the sandstone and granite rock in southern Jordan 60km to the east of Aqaba, Wadi Rum is the largest wadi in Jordan and undoubtedly the most stupendous. Virtually untouched by humanity, this landscape of monolithic rockscapes and towering, epically-proportioned formations has been carved from wind and weather, and is a maze of boundless empty spaces, water holes, canyons and caves.
Originally and perhaps best-known for its connection with British officer T.E Lawrence, who based operations there during the Arab revolt of 1917-18 and described it as ‘vast, echoing and god-like’, the area is best seen from snow-capped Jabal rum, the second highest peak in Jordan, offering views of the red sea and the Saudi border. The village of Wadi Rum itself is inhabited by several hundred Zalabia Bedouin living in goat-hair tents and concrete houses, who, working with international climbers and trekkers have successfully developed adventure eco-tourism in the area and made it one of the country’s most important tourist destinations. Sit down for a brew with these locals – a traditional Bedouin coffee ceremony involves three cups of coffee; one for the soul, one for the sword and one because you are a guest.
Whether you tour the area in a hot-air balloon, soar through towering cliffs on thermal currents perfect for hang gliding, camp under the blanket of stars, climb or hike the multitude of rock faces or simply ride through on Arab horses, it’s a place not to be missed.